Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Doctor In The House

As a blogger, I'm expected to follow a well established, though usually unwritten, code of behavior. Among the 70-odd rules [yes, they're listed as "Suggested Lifestyle", but they're as firm as the concrete that holds what was mortal of Jimmy Hoffa] is one I like to call #47: "Never admit to enjoying anything considered pop culture". Blogging is supposed to be the last bastion of iconoclastic losers...sorry, I meant "loners". Yes, "loners" [although if someone throws me in the Loony Bin, I really can't argue too much, now can I?]. Well, I like Pop-Tarts. I like Diet Pepsi [together with Pop-Tarts]. And I like House, MD.
(Actually I admitted to that one once before, in a roundabout way; during the Writer's Strike, I noted that I wanted more episodes of House. Fortunately, that worked itself out)
Then again, my enjoyment is built on some odd circumstances. Because of my transportation requirements [going to work], and the current FOX schedule, I only get to see the first half of any given episode [I was able to catch up on Friday nights, when they'd rerun an old episode. But now the weasels at Fox are running movies on Friday nights. And not so-bad-they're-good "movies of the week". No, these are movies I didn't want to see at the theater, and don't want to see now! ]. Still, with House I don't need to know what the disease is. I just want to see the people who interact with Dr. House resist the understandable desire to punch his lights out. Yes, he's a medical savant. Mozart was a musical savant. And history [as well as the excellent movie Amadeus] tells us he was no walk on the beach, either.
Another enjoyable part of the show is that it is as rigorously formatted as a Sherlock Holmes story. A brief prologue shows the subject of the episode suddenly suffering some severe and mysterious illness. Then, the show [almost always] has House explaining the symptoms, and asking his team for suggestions about what to do next[Those suggestions are met with contempt by House who, we suspect, knows exactly what's wrong, but wants someone to confirm his theory: he obviously believes that, if the answer is obvious to the cretins he works with, it must be correct].
Another regular part of the show is the scene that reveals the patient is getting worse; this is indicated by he or she coughing up blood [The Woman I Love pointed this out to me; now we wait patiently for the Great Indicator. Last night's episode held the CUB scene 'till halfway through; usually it comes about 20 minutes in, in case you're wondering. Sensitive souls are advised to get their snack around that time]. I can't imagine how much fake blood has passed the lips of guest stars, but it must be in the tens of gallons! More visceral than convulsions, more visual than a spastic colon, the CUB scene is as much a part of a House episode as an OLS [obligatory Lesbian scene] is in an adult movie [or so I'm told].
(By the way, if anyone from FOX is reading this, do America [and yourselves] a favor. Ditch those movies on Friday night, and give us more House.)
Thank you...
-Mike Riley

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Blog Roast

Good evening, and welcome to the fabulous Boom-Boom Room, here in the unfinished basement of the Hotel Sheets. Yes, there's music, gaiety, and dancing in the Hotel Sheets nightly! We are pleased to be here for this event [our other choice was an abandoned McDonald's off the Interstate]. You're probably wondering why I'm hosting my own roast. Well, I contacted all the comics I know [short list]. They all said they wouldn't be caught dead here. So, being old-school, I contacted the Ghosts of Dean Martin, Paul Lynde, and Buddy Hackett [Relax Max says he's a hoot]. Dean and Paul said they wouldn't be caught dead here, and Buddy wanted too much!

Anyway, we've only got 90 minutes for this extravaganza. The Foonman bat mitzvah has the room for the rest of the night. So let's break out the funny! First up is The Aging Disco Diva. I first ran into the Diva when I was trying to find somewhere to dump EntreCards. Who knew she could write? Nobody who's actually read her posts! Seriously, Her Divaness has had trouble with those storms that are crunching her beloved Kansas. She made a big effort to get this post out, so show some bonus Love for The Aging Disco Diva!

[entrance music - Get Down Tonight - KC And The Sunshine Band]

I delegated the task of writing a "post roast" to honor Mike’s 100th posting to my flying monkeys but all they came up with was:

His Tomato

Was the salmonella type

Until his beard

Grew over-ripe


Sigh, the damn things have gotten into my banana schnapps again, I can hear them hooting and flinging pooh in the next room… cripes, it is getting so hard to find good chattel in this day and age. Anyway, congrats on your 100th post. The diva adores After Midnight because it is highly amusing but yet requires its readers to possess an IQ greater than a ripe kumquat. I find myself agreeing with what Mike writes more often than not, which of course is not considered a compliment in 43 states, but like my momma often said “Honey, that's ok, you’re special” So Mike, keep the blog entries coming, your public (and my inebriated flying monkeys) demand it.

Once more for The Aging Disco Diva! She was going to bring the Flying Monkeys tonight, but if you think American Airlines charges a lot for checking your luggage, imagine what shipping the Monkeys would cost! Their bar tab alone would bankrupt Her Divaness!

We didn't plan it this way, but it turns out the first half of this roast is from Kansas. So I Googled "Kansas", and found out a few fascinating facts:

-the state motto is: "We're boring, and nobody cares. Nobody."

- Kansas is home to three claimants of "The World's Largest Ball Of Twine"

- it stopped bleeding after the Civil War. Don't bring any more bandages, for the love of God!

-"Carry On Wayward Son" was recorded by the rock group Kansas. As soon as it reached #1, they peeled out of the state and haven't been back since

-and finally, Kansas is home to part of "Tornado Alley". Its original name was "Hello Kitty Lane", but those damn Japanese manufacturers won a lawsuit.

Margie and Edna live in the fictitious community of Jericho, Kansas, just as I live in the fictitious community of Niagara Falls, NY. Although they seemed obsessed with some TV show [I can understand that; I'm obsessed with "Teletubbies". And not in a healthy way!], they are two of the more charming bloggers you'll be reading tonight. Without no doubt, they are Margie and Edna!

[entrance music - "Dust In The Wind" - Kansas]

Margie: Edna, this is a first. I've had a gentleman invite me to look at his blog. His name is Mike Riley and he lives in Buffalo, New York. All I can say is that, if he lives near those Niagara Falls, he might want to think about going over them and taking his blog with him.

Edna: He invited us both, you hussy, so don't you act like you're something special. I've had a look at his blog, and I think it's safe to say that he does seem to enjoy the sound of his own voice. Some of what he types is quite funny. But Margie, tell me something: do you think it's possible to be so funny that you actually drive blog readers away?

Margie: Edna, I don't think anybody can be too funny but they can sure be too silly. Look at this where he says, "It's always midnight somewhere." Well, duh! Only a dunce like you, Edna, wouldn't know that without him having to say it.

Edna: You ninny, we’re supposed to be roasting Mr. Riley and his blog, not each other, so I’ll thank you to aim that forked tongue in another direction. You know what, on second thought, maybe you’d better spare the poor man. After reading his blog, it looks like he’s got enough of his own problems to deal with without having to listen to you, too.

Margie and Edna! Margie and Edna! I want to thank them for taking part in this "all-you-can-eat character assassination". We're sending them back to Jericho via the Senile Snail, tickets courtesy of Amtrak!

Before we go any further, I want to acknowledge an e-mail that we got from "Grumpus", purveyor of When Things Get Dark. We had hoped Big G would be a part of tonight, but scheduling conflicts came up. Oh, well. Anyway, "Grumpus" notes:

Congratulations for hitting that milestone with a great blog yet, with none of this money-making or what-my-cat-did stuff... ;-)
have fun
and thank you

Believe me, Grumpus, if I could make any money doing this, I would. And my cats do things no decent person wants to know about, including posing regularly for I Can Haz Cheeseburger?. Oh, the shame!

Anyway, next to the podium is Laura. In promoting this page-filler, I mentioned her only as the creator of That Grrl. To be fair, she's also the stick-figure champion of her native Canada, an accomplished photographer, and spells better than I do, even with SpellCheck [or Cheque, as I believe it's spelled Up North]. Anyway, she's chosen to grace us this evening as That Grrl. And here she is!

[entrance music - The Bitch Is Back - Elton John]

Knowing Mike is a night time deejay... I just imagine a smooth operator voice, sweeping out over the night, like velvet. Skimming through the air waves with music and conversation to keep the night flowing. Heard but not seen. Just like those critters crunching under your boots in the dark of night.
Mike is one of the very few people who pines for a book called Comparative Philosophy. According to Mike's blog post, that book gave him the best sleep he has had since he lost his virginity. Well, actually it wasn't clear whether he meant his virginity or his sanity.Usually men seem to lose one while trying to lose the other so it could be he lost both a long time ago.
To quote Mike, "Just, please, please, please keep my name out of this." Too late! I won't go into all the details about the flashing incident at the BHM are Better Convention. However I am keeping the photos.
Happy Anniversary!

Laura! That Grrl! You would bring up that unfortunate incident at the Convention, wouldn't you? Don't worry about saving the photos, though; I'm bringing them out in book form next Spring! I've dared three different publishing houses to put it out, and I'm sure one of them wants to avoid the "wuss-boy" taunt.

Boy, this little soirree has turned into the Stalingrad of posts, hasn't it? I think it's time to move onto our anchor. Relax Max, "The Last Cranky Man", is currently presiding over The Slap And Tickle, as well as supervising operations at BritishSpeak. Max has asked me to remind you that, in honor of this roast, your first drink served with a thong tonight at "The Slap And Tickle" is half-price. Max has also asked me to remind you not to take the thong with you. The poor guy is running out of underwear!

Ladies & gentlemen, Relax Max!

[entrance music - Relax - Frankie Goes To Hollywood]

What can you say about a blogger who is admired, revered, and loved by everyone? I could say a lot about such a person, but, instead, I have been invited to speak about Mike Riley.

I have quite a few friends in the blogging community now, and I will admit I approached several of them about this invitation to help roast Mike. They all responded as one:

That’s not true. In fact, I received several congratulatory emails from these blogging friends. I was going to print some of them in this little speech. Unfortunately the emails were all congratulating themselves that they hadn’t been the one asked to help roast Mike.
So, you can see there is no middle ground with Mike Riley. Either you hate him and his work, or you despise him. Frankly, I am no different - and I know you value the truth, Mike - I have never never liked you. And I suppose I always will.

Mike is in the process of celebrating the milestone of his 100th blog entry. Naturally I decided to go back and read a few and look for some interesting material for this roast. It only took me two before I realized “interesting” just wasn’t going to happen. I’ll take your word that there are 100 of them Mike - I sure as hell aren’t going to read them all. Or even count them all.

Mike works for a radio station in Niagara Falls, New York. He works the early morning hours. That’s where the name “After Midnight” came from. Cool, huh? Mike doesn’t know this, but I used to work in advertising for a radio station once. I soon learned not to bother making small talk with the jocks because it was too much effort to dumb down my IQ so they could understand me.

Let me tell you a little bit about how radio works, programming-wise. First, you’ve got your morning drive and your afternoon drive. You’ve got mid-days, and you’ve got evenings. Those are the things that make the radio station money.
Then you have late-night. Late-night exists because it is not economical to turn off the transmitter from midnight to 5 am, and because you can always get an alcoholic has-been jock to work the shift for minimum wage. Sometimes you can even make him do a little production for the same money.
Mike is what is called a late-night jock. Worthless as shit, in other words. Most of the late-nighters I came across didn’t even own a pair of socks. True. Give them some weed, and they won’t even remember when payday is.

When you think of Mike Riley, you need to keep that mental picture in your mind, just so you don’t get to thinking his blogging is somehow higher-classed than his radio job. Also, in case you missed it, let me repeat: Mike lives in Niagara Falls, New York.

Now, I’m not here to run down the U.S. side of Niagara Falls. Lord knows that dirty boarded up town doesn’t need any help from me in the “Running Down” department. But remember this contributes to Mike's overall "mystique", okay? I mean, let’s face it, he doesn’t HAVE to live in Niagara Falls, New York. In fact, if he likes the name so much, there is CLEAN version right across the river, right?
Well, enough about Niagara Falls, New York. I’m sure it will improve once Mike gets fired and moves out. Which is bound to happen as soon as they find out he’s blogging on company time.
I’m almost finished, and I still haven’t been able to find anything good about Mike Riley. Believe me, I tried. I looked and looked. And finally I found out that Mike really does have one claim to fame. Since he started blogging, Google has had to add a lower number to their page-rank system. So, all of you shitty bloggers out there, you have Mike Riley to thank for that.

Hang in there Mike. We all love you. You simply aren’t a threat to any of us.

Relax Max! Mister Civility! Relax Max! Thank you, Max. You know, I'm okay with all you said about Niagara Falls. But there's a group of rats, winos and city officials [please don't ask me which is which!] that would like a word with you after we're done here. They say you're lowering property values.

Normally, this is the part where the Roastee has a chance for rebuttal against his Roasters. But you know, I've never enjoyed kicking emotional cripples when they're down. I'll just quote another great man who was once in this situation, one Howard Cosell:

"You've all been shooting spitballs at a battleship".

With that, I just want to thank my flayers, The Aging Disco Diva, Margie & Edna, That Grrl, and of course, Relax Max.

Thank You, and Goodnight!

Monday, June 16, 2008


I don't know why it is, but announcing that today would be my 100th posting here at AFTER MIDNIGHT put an unusually high amount of pressure on me. So, as I frequently do when I have no ideas [more often than I'd like to admit to], I went trolling on the Blogosphere, looking for a clever image to illustrate the page [I believe the right picture is worth a thousand words]. The illustration turned up at Skinny Moose Media, along with an article [] on the top 10 reasons blogs fail. Well, thought I, I've gotten to my 100th post, so I must be doing something right. Not a chance. Here are the articles 10 reasons, along with my take on how well I'm avoiding the problem
-1. / Lack of long term ambition and commitment - I think that's a rather personal way to start, don't you? Bad enough I've had to deal with family and friends' comments on my lack of ambition; I don't need to hear that from some fellow blogger! As for lack of commitment, it's only because no one is willing to sign the papers! So take it up with The Rest Of The World. I'm willing to do my part.
-2. / Failure to grasp realities of blogging - If I wanted a firm grasp on reality, would I be blogging? Wouldn't I get a REAL hobby? Like chess? Or bonsai tree gardening [ I remember someone once pointing out that, given the amount of time humans spend trying to have sex versus the amount of time we actually HAVE sex, it's hardly worth the effort. I believe the writer recommended cultivating bonsai trees as a healthy alternative]?
-3. / Not standing out...being part of the mold - Yes, there is a little mold on the edges of this blog. I live in Niagara Falls. It's damp in there, with all that water rushing over me. Mold can't be helped. As for standing out, what better way is there to becoming a target? Crouch behind a rock or tree; otherwise, you're an easy mark for sniper fire.
-4. / Unattractive Content - I just think that's a little PERSONAL, don't you? I try to keep my blog up, change the widgets periodically, that sort of thing. But, as a blog gets older, it just has a tendency to get, well, "unattractive". If you think my content is unattractive, don't look at me!
-5. / No Time - Late-60's hit by the Guess Who, if memory serves me right.
-6. / Lack of promotional skills and outreach - I designed and rented a great billboard to promote this site. How was I to know the only bridge that led to it would be condemned?
-7. / Not posting frequently enough - C'mon people! It only took me 20 months to reach the 100-post milestone [Yes, I know there are people who post daily. They need a life, don't you think?
-8. / Too broad of a topic - I believe women deserve to be treated with dignity and, more importantly, respect. Calling a woman a "broad", or implying that's all I write about, is an insult to me, The Woman I Love [wondering when I'd get in a reference to her, weren't you?], and every broad who wastes a few minutes with this fine site!
-9. / Ugly template - While I have to admit the Skinny Moose template is clean and reasonably attractive, isn't it time we stopped making judgements based on appearance? Can't we put the emphasis on ideas? And, finally,
-10. / Spamming, and being an Annoying Blogger - Do you have any idea how many bloggers would have to give it up if they couldn't be annoying? As for Spamming, I've always enjoyed a Spam sandwich, and am not going to stop just because some Skinny Moose doesn't like it! So there!
I seem to have gone on a bit longer than I'd originally planned. So, with that, I'll take my leave of the podium until Friday, when we'll reconvene for the first ever Celebrity Blog Roast [These "guests" are as much celebrities as I am; that is, not at all. But I've always enjoyed their work, and I suspect their innate bitterness will keep the frivolity flowing!]. Scheduled to appear, in no particular order, are:
The Aging Disco Diva
That Grrl
Relax Max, purveyor of BritishSpeak and The Slap And Tickle
Margie and Edna, residents of Margie and Edna's Basement
A special tip of the "courtesy" hat to Bengo & Pug, creators of the new web comic Li'l Nyet for the sweet anniversary "card", elsewhere on this page. And to all of you, thanx for your continued support. I COULD do this without you, but why bother?

Friday, June 13, 2008


Barbara Feldon--------Anne Hathaway

Get Smart TV series------------------Get Smart movie

Sorry, kids, I just couldn't resist [Besides, there's an open rumor that subtle references to the new Get Smart movie may be rewarded. Not that I'd believe that, of course. Sounds like something I'd make up to cover a lame joke...].
Hey, I'm not wasting my A-material on the 99th post. But please stop by the week of 6/16 for two very special events:
-6/16 or 6/17/08 - The historic 100th post [and no, I haven't a clue what it's going to be about].
-6/20/08 - An experiment in, wait, it's only terror for me. I've invited a few of the bloggers I admire, to take part in what I believe is the first ever, Celebrity Blog Roast. I can't announce any names. But you will be looking to see if you actually are taking part and just forgotten that you'd said, "Yes".
Now, go have a nice weekend...
-Mike Riley

Monday, June 9, 2008

Just A Thought...

I have here a link to an Associated Press article [], which postulates that the US Presidential election will come down to the results in 15 states. I've always been a little suspicious of that kind of prediction, especially made a good five months before the election [Hell, Democrats weren't even exactly sure of who their candidate would be until last week]. How can otherwise clear-thinking pundits [I'm being a tad generous here] presume to know the will of the American people [the same American people, mind you, that make predicting the next American Idol such a chore even a month before the Final] this far in advance? (Sometimes I wonder how TV weathercasters have the chutzpah to predict the weather more than 24 hours in advance. I suspect if someone kept records of the predictions for more than a day ahead, we'd find they were as good as baseball batters. And remember, skillful batters fail to reach first base seven out of ten times. If they're good!]

The Patron Saint of those who distrust polls, of course, is Harry S Truman. In the 1948 Presidential election, he trailed his principal challenger Thomas E. Dewey, according to the then-new science of polling, throughout the campaign. Come Election Day, though, he squeaked out a narrow victory [How narrow? Well, take a good look at the newspaper Truman is holding in the picture at left. Even today, because of printing requirements, newspapers don't always get the latest information. That paper had to put a headline about the election on the front page. They chose "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN". Oopsie...]

To be fair, polling was still in its infancy in the 1940's. Today, both science and standards have improved spectacularly. So let's assume for the moment that the experts have doped this out correctly. If so, the winner in 35 of the 50 United States can reasonably be predicted. Okay, here's my thought: in the interest of saving money and time, why not just cancel the Presidential vote in those 35 predictable states? We would, of course, hold the election in those 15 "unknowable" states [for that matter, we could have the 35 non-voting states help defray the costs in the other 15. It would be less expensive and time-consuming than actually holding a vote we know the result of in June, for God's sake!], and the results would decide the election.

Well, no. There's still the hurtle of the Electoral College to get over [American readers of this blog may remember the College from their high school Civics class. If not, take a moment and Google "electoral college"]. Strictly speaking, the results of the College vote can be predicted by the general election results. But also strictly speaking, the College members, in most states, are not legally bound to vote for the candidate that won their state's election.The College, the wisdom teeth of the American political system, has always done the right thing and elected the correct candidate. But nowadays, who knows? And, if such a switch became obvious after the fact, what, legally, could we do about it? Wait, I've got it! We'll take a poll, and...

No, that's how we got here in the first place...

-Mike Riley

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Making Of The Candidate

It took the entire primary season to do it, but Barack Obama is now the presumptive Democratic candidate for US President in this year's election. 18 months ago, it seemed impossible. Six months ago, at the start of the Democratic Party primaries, it still seemed impossible. And yet, in the late hours of Tuesday, it became fact.
Whether Sen. Obama is elected in November or not [and I still think it's too early to speculate on victory then], the story of how he took the nomination from Sen. Hillary Clinton will remain as the most amazing thing political pundits have seen in decades. And yet, a few political insiders have offered clues as to how it all happened:
Charisma - Not that Hillary Clinton isn't. But Obama's message of change electrified Democrat voters in just about every primary, whether he won them or not.
New Face, new voice - Barack Obama is a first-term Senator. He didn't carry the baggage that Mrs. Clinton did as former first lady. And while having the services of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, certainly helped in some campaign strategizing, his reputation as "old Washington" [ironically the opposite position from which he successfully ran in 1992] ran counter to the emotional needs of a country overwhelmed by recession, war and, most importantly, governmental distrust.
Obama did his homework - He realized that he probably wouldn't win in the big states. So he went after every delegate he could get in smaller states. While Hillary put most of her efforts into big state votes, Barack showed his face early and often in the small states. While Hillary went for big, one-time donations, Barack pushed for smaller amounts of support. It gave him the flexibility to go back to supporters for further donations. This clever use of election finance laws left him with enough money to outspend Clinton again and again. And he put together a campaign team that impressed even seasoned political observers.
Mrs. Clinton is keeping her options open. She could take her battle for the nomination to the Democratic National Convention this summer. But this seems unlikely. She could just walk away. Again, it doesn't fit her pattern. Most likely, she's negotiating a withdrawal that would include the #2 spot on the Democratic ticket, or at the very least, compensation for her campaign debts. What she'll settle for remains to be seen.
-Mike Riley

Monday, June 2, 2008

Now What Do We Do?

Boy, I'm bored! Since EntreCard went down in "The Planet" fire, I just have nada to do. Like the two gentlemen to the right, I'm just "Waiting For Godot". Can you imagine what the truly serious 'Carders are doing right now? Some of them are probably noticing for the first time that their Significant Others have departed, having taken the TV set and the cat [that last was a kindness to the animal, of course; YOU weren't going to think to feed it, never mind cleaning the litter box...
For serious blog readers, on the other hand, this could be a brief, but brilliant Golden Age; after all, without Cards to worry about, bloggers may actually WRITE, concentrating on their posts [sadly, that doesn't seem to apply here].
It's a shame we didn't know the outage was coming sooner. We could have thrown together a Blog Carnival, with an "Iron Chef" format [topic not revealed 'til the competition begins. 24-hour time limit for entries. If someone DOES pull one together, please let us know].
Thank the good Lord it's just an EC outage. Can you imagine what we'd have to do without computers for a WHOLE DAY [oh wait, we've done that already this year]?
Has anyone started a pool to predict the day and hour the EC machine begins again [let's face it, a lot of us have credits burning a hole in our metaphorical pockets. By the bye, what ELSE do you keep in your metaphorical pocket?]?
Godot? Is that you? Please? Help?